Friday, November 20, 2015

Buy Less: 3 Use Arguement

Giving Yourself Purchase Jitters:

I am guilty of spending money and feeling that momentary excitement from making a purchase - don't know why, but I'm as easily bit by the shopping bug as anyone else.  However, before I actually make a purchase, I have a slightly-mental conversation with myself.  Imagine a devil and an angel on either shoulder, or more accurate, a skin-flint and a spend-thrift.
Skinflint - You don't NEED that.
Spendthrift - But I WANT it.
Skinflint - Well, what's it gonna do for you that don't have already?
Spendthrift - Well, it will _______.
Skinflint - That's it?
Spendthrift - No, there's.... more....
And this conversation continues until I get 3 USES for the item in question.  I call this my "3 Use Argument".  Usually, I get tired of thinking about it and put the item back before I talk myself into 3 ways it will improve my life, so 9 out of 10 times this prevents me from buying it.  The best part of this odd little mental-check?  I feel GOOD when I DON'T buy it!

The trick doesn't take more than 30 seconds to be effective, and here are some details to help you make it happen in your own head:

Putting the "3 Use Argument" Into Action:

That oh-so cute but just a salt and pepper shaker?  Only one use, so no buy.  However, the 12 pack of quart mason jars with lids/bands on sale?  SOLD!  I see pantry food storage, double-ups for leftover storage in the fridge, pickling jars, cookie-mix gift containers, and the list goes on.

SO, before you buy something, consider how it can do 3 different things for you before you even consider actually buying it.  Need some help getting the conversation going?  Consider the following list of common bought "impulse" purchases.

Clothing/Jewelry:  Can I wear it to work and/or casual days and/or social events?  Can I wear it at least 3 seasons of the year?  Can I wear it with at least 3 different items I already owned?

Kitchen Items:  Does it have more than one purpose or problem it solves?  Do I have anything that already does these things?  Can I re-use it for something else later in its life or is it a one-show pony?

Bedding/Pillows/Blankets:  Is there a place that I don't already have something that does this?  Will this last for years to come?  Is it completely washable?  Can I use this for multiple areas of the house?

Snack Foods/Beverages:  Can I get 3 snacks out of this?  Does this help my health improve ?  Can I use the container/purchase for anything else/another reason (e.g. coffee at a place with wifi, free parking, or AC/heated waiting space?)

Technology Stuffs:  Will I use this more than 3 times?  Do I have three different instances that this would improve the experience of (e.g. taking photos for work, for pleasure, and for family sharing...) Is there anything comparable to this that I already own or could easily create?

Decorations:  Can I use this to decorate for more than 2 occasions?  Do the colors lend themselves to things I already own?  Will I love this in 3 years or is it a passing interest?

Containers:  What do I own that I would put in there, and where is that thing stored now?  Will this improve my storage/use of that item three fold?  Can I think of 2 other things I have that could be stored in this?

These are just jump points for the habitual shopper to start talking themselves OUT OF buying things.  Once you start to have a dialogue with yourself about how you would ACTUALLY use something, it's a lot easier to point out to yourself when you wouldn't get enough out of the purchase to make it worth it.

Happy "Not-Buying" Shopping!

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